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The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies | Deesha Philyaw
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions. There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher's wife. At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta's ""same time next year"" arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.
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review
Samary
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Pickpick

Great range of feelings and emotions. Some triggers for SA and the audio narration was wonderful.

Sophronisba I really need to read this one. 1w
Samary @Sophronisba a lot it people love Peach Cobbler, but my fave story was Dear Sister. I hope you like it!! 1w
8 likes2 comments
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Eggs
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Secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs…

#secret #beginswith @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Leftcoastzen I loved this one! 3w
vlwelser 3w
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Perfect 👍🏻 3w
63 likes4 comments
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bookandbedandtea
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Here are my July through December picks for #12BooksOf2021. It's been a good reading year @Andrew65

Andrew65 Some great choices. 3w
25 likes1 stack add1 comment
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squirrelbrain
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What a lovely surprise Barbara! This book has so many fabulous reviews here on Litsy, and I just adore the cover and the soap smells delicious!

I hope you‘re having a lovely break… we‘re having a relaxing time, going nowhere and doing nothing. (Other than puppy-managing!)

charl08 Sounds like a perfect break to me. And a lovely fire! 3w
julesG Lovely gift. The book is on #MountTBR. I love the green soap. Good choice, @BarbaraBB. 3w
BarbaraBB Glad it finally arrived. It‘s a great read I thought! 😘 3w
Cathythoughts Looks good 👍 3w
Suet624 It's a wonderful book. Enjoy! 3w
56 likes5 comments
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rsteve388
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#Top21Of21 The Secret Lives of Church Ladies was my favorite book that I read this year. But I thoroughly loved all of the books on this list. Looking forward to what 2022 has in store for me!

Kdgordon88 Fantastic list! 1mo
Ruthiella We both have Gideon the Ninth on our 2021 list! ❤️ 1mo
Bookwormjillk Great list! I had The Guide too. 1mo
See All 7 Comments
rsteve388 @Ruthiella I lived that snarky sarcastic duel sword welding character. I was here for that. 1mo
rsteve388 @Bookwormjillk I found the river to have a weird Candace and so I loved the Guide on audio, Peter Heller is an audiobook author for me going forward. 1mo
BarbaraBB Great choices. I loved Church Ladies too. (edited) 1mo
Cinfhen All kinds of fabulous here!! I‘ve tagged for #FurtherInspiration 😍🤓🤩 1mo
48 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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vlwelser
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Pickpick

I liked this a lot. It was really hard not to devour this book in one sitting. I made myself just listen to 1 at a time. I love this cover. The look on her face is awesome.

This was the bonus December book for my IRL book club. I picked this and feedback from the guys isn't exactly positive. But the girls seem to love it.

Leftcoastzen I really enjoyed this book as well . Wonderful writing! 2mo
35 likes1 comment
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Well-ReadNeck
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MrsMalaprop Intriguing 🤔 2mo
BarbaraBB Shouldn‘t this one have been longlisted for #ToB22?! 2mo
Well-ReadNeck @BarbaraBB Yes!!! They had several story collections. I was surprised this wasn‘t one. 2mo
56 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Moray_Reads
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Her stories centre on a variety of Black women and their relationships to both the Church and marriage. Their strengths are invisible or taken for granted and Philyaw lays bare the abuse and exploitation they suffer as a result of their colour, their gender and their sexuality.
Each story is a microcosm of heartbreak but because the women are both ordinary and remarkable the vital sparks of hope, intimacy and love are what really shine through.

37 likes1 stack add
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BarbaraBB
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#BookReport 42/21

I managed to finish a few books that had taken me wat too long. This weeks absolute favorite is the tagged one!

Cinfhen I really LOVED Church Ladies too!!! It was FABULOUS on audio 🥰Great reading week xx 3mo
TrishB You had a good week 😁 3mo
tricours What did you think of Fatland‘s book? 3mo
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BarbaraBB @tricours I learned a lot about countries I have always been fascinated by and I enjoyed Erika Fatland‘s writing style and attitude. Very down to earth and not overly dramatic. A pick for me! What did you think? 3mo
squirrelbrain I need to get to Church Ladies sometime soon…. 3mo
TrishB Thank you for the parcel that arrived today 😁😘 I‘m saving it until Tuesday! 3mo
Megabooks Great week!! Sovietstan was so interesting. I didn‘t love Church Ladies as much as most people did. (edited) 3mo
BarbaraBB @TrishB I‘m happy it arrived in time. I hope you‘ll have a wonderful birthday with lots of love and books ❤️❤️ 3mo
BarbaraBB @Megabooks You didn‘t? I‘m surprised. It seems so in your wheelhouse ❤️ 3mo
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain I hope you will. I‘m sure you‘ll love it too 😘 3mo
70 likes10 comments
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

There's so much more than the church in the lives of the women in the nine stories that form this little gem of a book. I enjoyed all nine of them and felt strangely proud of these women, their strength, their choices, their fears and their passion. A great read!

Graywacke I‘m intrigued, but also love how you just quietly give us this beautiful background in your photo. 3mo
vlwelser We're reading this for my IRL book club in December. I'm definitely looking forward to it. I also love your picture. 3mo
BarbaraBB @Graywacke @vlwelser Thank you. It‘s a book worth reading. The backdrop is a canal I walk by on my way to work. It‘s a beauty, no?! 3mo
MicheleinPhilly I loved this book oh so much. 3mo
BarbaraBB @MicheleinPhilly It is fantastic. A tribute to women 💪🏽 3mo
83 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Bookboss
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Pickpick

I had a grand time listening to this collection of short stories. I expected it to deal with hypocrisy in the church, but the stories had a much broader reach. They delved into all of the important relationships: romance, friendship, and family. The narrator is excellent!

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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

Downright spectacular. Do you ever read fiction and just know particular scenes are going to stick with you? This book is full of these! Peach cobbler will never be the same! 😂😢🍑
Full of heartache but also love and even a bit of humor sprinkled throughout. Perspectives of black women who are impacted by church in some way. I‘ve read such great things about this and happy to say they are all true. Listen to the audiobook if you get the chance.

Bookboss Just downloaded the audiobook from my library! 4mo
Chelsea.Poole @Bookboss hope you love it! 4mo
84 likes2 comments
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underground_bks
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After being enthralled by this book cover for months, I‘m glad I finally listened to this beautifully narrated audiobook edition of Deesha Philyaw‘s short story collection. These nine stories span four generations, focusing on the vulnerability, sexuality, secrets, religious constraints of the Black women at the center of each story. These stories display such range, alternatingly funny, shocking, tender, and wise, each, above all, achingly human.

Trashcanman What a great review 👍 5mo
underground_bks @Trashcanman thank you so much! 5mo
34 likes1 stack add2 comments
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kyraleseberg
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Excited to devour this entire issue of Oxford American but I may have to jump immediately to the new Deesha Philyaw story.
(I'm still recovering from being knocked out by the tagged book!)

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Kaarin
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Collection of short stories. The author creates specific, visceral interactions between characters.

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Addison_Reads
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Beautiful collection of short stories. ? Deesha Philyaw is an incredible writer. I'm in awe of her talent after finishing this book. Each story is different and yet the themes of women seeking freedom and identity from the constraints placed on them by society to be "good" makes this an impressively cohesive collection.

I would love to read more by this author. I'm a big fan now.

4thhouseontheleft I‘ve heard good things about this! 6mo
CollapsingLibrary I read it as an audiobook and LOVED it! I‘m not typically a fan of audiobooks but the voice actor did an amazing job brining these gorgeous stories to life! 6mo
44 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Scochrane26
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Since I‘m driving again to & from work, I‘m listening to books again.
I liked Shit, Actually, but it‘s a soft pick for me. Some essays I enjoyed more than others.
The tagged took me awhile to get into, but there were several stories that I really loved.

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Mitch
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I don't usually gravitate towards short stories - but these were amazing. Philyaw writes real women, she write women who love, who bleed, who hurt and desire. I saw bits of me in her women and my heart felt for them all. Her writing is amazing - she creates place and nostalgia, character and history without anything crowing the page. Loved these!

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Mitch
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Grabbing a quiet hour - I‘m nearing the end of this short collection and feeling good about finishing a book ( slump over!)

Cupcake12 Love Woodford in the background 🤣❤️🐶🐾 6mo
Mitch @Cupcake12 He has some amazing sleeping poses! 6mo
AmyG Well, Woodford is happy! 🙌🏻❤️ 6mo
See All 6 Comments
Mitch @AmyG He seems to take change in his stride! 🤣 6mo
CBee @Mitch hi friend! Glad the move went well, the new place looks lovely ♥️ 6mo
AlaMich I love it when dogs do that! 6mo
76 likes6 comments
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Mitch
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Suffice it to say I will never enjoy Peach Cobbler again!

ErinSueMreads 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 6mo
81 likes1 comment
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Mitch
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Trying to get back into a reading rhythm- because I think I‘ve realised that it‘s that rhythm that makes everything else in life fall into place. So a short story before bed ( I usually do not go for shorts - but think something contained will kick start the ‘reading focus‘ gene!)

BookishMarginalia 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 6mo
Soubhiville This book was really good! I hope you‘ll like it. 6mo
AmyG I am off kilter when I don‘t read. 6mo
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QuietlyLaura I like the idea of a personal reading rhythm being grounding. ☺️📚 6mo
Mitch @QuietlyLaura it most definitely is for me - it gives me structure and depth I think - hard emotions to put words to 🙏 6mo
Mitch @AmyG most definitely 6mo
Mitch @Soubhiville just finished the one focused around the Peach Cobbler - sooo good! 6mo
77 likes7 comments
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rsteve388
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Pickpick

What an amazing collection of short stories. I just flew through this book. It was heart breaking at points and funny in others. Excellent, Loved the Narration.

Mitch I‘ve just started this. I have zero concentration at the moment so though shorts was the way to go! 6mo
30 likes1 comment
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rsteve388
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This is such an excellent book on Audio! Janina Edwards is an excellent Narrator and does all of Jasmine Guillory's Books. What a fun weekend read! Loving it!

32 likes1 stack add
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bookandbedandtea
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Pickpick

Wow! Collections of short stories are not my favorite genre but this was superb! These stories were all so full of emotion and honesty and they were so precisely written that I could see every detail. I'm not sure I can even pick a favorite story. Maybe Snowfall. Or How To Make Love To A Physicist. Oh! Or Dear Sister. I loved them all! Also I listened to it and the narration was outstanding. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

41 likes2 stack adds
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Suet624
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Pickpick

This book of short stories was spectacular. The audiobook was fantastic (it‘s rare for me to say that). Each story was 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

#Vermont

JennyM Look at that sky - beautiful ❤️ Hope you are keeping well Sue xx 7mo
Suet624 @JennyM hi Jenny, thank you. Have had a wonderfully relaxing 4 days off from work. All is good. I hope the same is true for you. 7mo
BarbaraBB A very convincing review again! 7mo
britt_brooke LOVED this collection! One of my top reads of the year. 💚 7mo
Suet624 @britt_brooke I‘m in good company then. 7mo
62 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Pinta
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Pickpick

Strong short story collection: Black church, religious patriarchy, hetero marriage, lesbian desire, the comfort & pain of social traditions. Forbidden love. Strained mother-daughters & distant men. Double standards & “being a good girl.” Diaries, affairs, secrets. Fave: Eula, opening story: close friends with a secret New Year‘s Eve tradition. Loving sexual relationship deemed unacceptable by the lover, in conflict w/ her faith‘s teachings. 2020

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Angitron
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Mehso-so

It‘s clear that Philyaw is a good writer, and the reviews have been stellar, so I was disappointed that I just didn‘t connect with these stories.

MaggieCarr Same. 7mo
21 likes1 comment
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Kimbono
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Hoping to finish these two tonight. Both are great, by the way.

20 likes1 stack add
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mcctrish
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Pickpick

Weeding and listening. I loved this book. I find short stories in audio hard. It‘s easy to put down a book at the end of a story but it‘s hard to turn off the audio. I sometimes don‘t even realize the story ended 🤦🏻‍♀️and you never know how long the story will be. These were all engaging stories and some I wished could have gone for longer

ChasingOm Your space is beautiful!! 😍 7mo
mcctrish @ChasingOm thank you, I never take pictures from this perspective ( I‘m often not on the ground weeding in this corner 🤣🤣) 7mo
Suet624 I agree about short stories on audio. 7mo
Suet624 I completely agree about short stories in audio. Also, this one manages to pull it off in spectacular fashion. 7mo
54 likes4 comments
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mcctrish
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Next up in audio

Copwithabook Ooooo I have this one on my TBR. Can‘t wait to see what you think of it 8mo
41 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Mitch
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Great interview - can‘t wait to dive into this collection

https://fictionwritersreview.com/interview/our-full-humanity-a-conversation-with...

TheBookHippie It‘s been on my list as well. 8mo
Cinfhen Thanks for tagging me❤️great interview 8mo
51 likes2 comments
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Mitch
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#newbookday

Not usually a lover of short stories - but the reviews for this have been overwhelmingly great and the cover is fab - so I couldn‘t resist!

Cinfhen Loved this book!! I thought the audio was fabulous/ it was a 5 star read/listen ♥️ 8mo
Megabooks Great book!!! 8mo
Mitch @Cinfhen can't wait to dive in! 8mo
Mitch @Megabooks 👏 👏 👏 👏 8mo
69 likes4 comments
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FashionableObserver
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Wow. What a beautiful collection of stories. A beautiful representation of a few of the many facets of womanhood: motherhood, friendships, sisterhood. An examination of reckoning with past hurts, dreams deferred and achieved, and reckoning with oneself. I loved every page.

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FashionableObserver
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Last full day of vacation. 🥺 I didn‘t read as much as I wanted to, but I‘m excited to tuck into the second book in my travel stack! The author and I follow each other on Twitter and she is EVERYTHING! So brilliant, dynamic, creative, and insightful. Super excited to start this one!

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kyraleseberg
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Pickpick

Wow, this collection is brilliant. No wasted words, every single story is fantastic and raw.

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HeatherBookNerd
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Pickpick

Good short story collection revolving around the experiences of various black women as they focus on desire, identity, and breaking free from the “good southern girl” rules they‘ve been raised to follow. excellent audiobook narrator.

37 likes1 stack add
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Leftcoastzen
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Pickpick

All the stars.Stunning! Amongst the best short story collections I have ever read .They really drew me in ,so good!

Suet624 I‘m reading great reviews for this. Can‘t wait to read it. 9mo
Leftcoastzen @Suet624 it is superb, I think you will like it. 9mo
56 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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MicheleinPhilly
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Pickpick

Admittedly I don‘t read a lot of short story collections. But this quite possibly is the best one I‘ve ever read. Each and every story in here is a marvel and this will easily make my top of the year list in Dec. 5 massive, blazing stars.

squirrelbrain Wow, that‘s some endorsement! Stacked. 9mo
Ruthiella I‘m so looking forward to reading this one! 9mo
DivineDiana Already adding to TBR list! So intrigued! #stacked 9mo
59 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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Soubhiville
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Pickpick

I‘m adding my Wow! to the others who have reviewed this already.

This is a short collection of short stories, I think there were 9, and there wasn‘t one I didn‘t really appreciate. (And I‘m not usually a short-story fan.)

Definitely recommend! 5⭐️

70 likes1 stack add
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Jen2
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Pickpick

Fabulous!!!

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Cinfhen
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Pickpick

Wow! This was an unexpected 5 star reading/listening experience. 🥰
The nine short stories were richly drawn, original & unique. Each story is a confession/ telling/ sharing of the secret lives of church going women, but really any women. I lack the right words to describe the fierceness & glory I found in each story. Brilliant 🙌🏻Thanks for encouraging me to pick up the audio @britt_brooke I hope others will be inspired as well 💜

Cinfhen Have you listened to this audio @Megabooks @KarenUK ??? 9mo
Megabooks Yes, I have! 9mo
Cinfhen Did u love it too @Megabooks ???? 9mo
See All 10 Comments
britt_brooke Oh wow, you flew through it! It really is a brilliant collection, one I‘ll def revisit at some point. Perfect review! We‘re on a good roll here! 😙😙 9mo
KarenUK No I haven‘t, but I will now! 💕🎧 9mo
Cinfhen I think you‘re gonna LOVE it @KarenUK keep me posted 💕 9mo
Cinfhen Yes @britt_brooke we‘re in sync 👯‍♀️💚 9mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I liked it but didn‘t love it. 9mo
Cinfhen I‘m surprised it wasn‘t a LOVE for you but that‘s ok @Megabooks we‘re still #TwoReadingPeasInAPod xxx 9mo
Megabooks 💕😁😘 9mo
98 likes2 stack adds10 comments
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Cinfhen
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This one was calling to me @britt_brooke 😊#Scribd #Audio

britt_brooke YES! So good. Another one of my top reads of the year so far. Hope you enjoy! 9mo
79 likes1 comment
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Chelleo
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Pickpick

🎧⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️2021-04-10 — I really enjoyed this selection of short stories. Interesting variety of characters and storylines. Quick read. #BlackLitsy #Blitsy #BlackAuthor #ReadDiverseBooks #BIPOCAuthors

AcademicHustler It‘s on my TBR list. 9mo
Chelleo @AcademicHustler I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the writing and the narration. Hope you like it. 9mo
76 likes6 stack adds2 comments
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monalyisha
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“My mother, who fed me TV dinners, baked a peach cobbler with fresh peaches every Monday, her day off from the diner where she waited tables. She always said Sunday was her Saturday and Monday was her Sunday. What I knew was that none of her days were for me.”

91 likes1 stack add
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monalyisha
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“Once he‘s in the air, his six-hour flight (including layover) feels to you like an eternity. His walk from the plane to your car at curbside takes as long as a pilgrimage. You imagine him kissing the western wall of Sbarro, weeping at the Cinnabon, leaving an offering at the feet of Auntie Anne.”

Soubhiville Aaaannnd, now I want an Auntie Ann‘s pretzel with honey mustard. And some peach cobbler. 😋 10mo
monalyisha @Soubhiville I have wanted a pretzel all day long. 😭🥨 10mo
vivastory Now I want a Cinnabon 😋....or a pretzel 10mo
wanderinglynn @vivastory ooh, a Cinnabon! 😋 10mo
vivastory @wanderinglynn There's a chain gas station with a lot of locations in KC. I go there every once in awhile while working to grab lunch bc they actually make fresh food & one of my favorites are their pretzels. They have a cinnamon sugar pretzel. Order it with icing dipper 👌 10mo
74 likes5 comments
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monalyisha
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Pickpick

I haven‘t read a short story collection in a long time. This one was quick and compulsively readable with themes of value, self-worth, and self-love; parental relationships; sin and transgression; fate and freedom of choice; and peach cobbler.

And yes. I‘m absolutely sure that peach cobbler is a theme.

My favorite stories are: “Peach Cobbler” (of course), “Snowfall”, & “How To Make Love to a Physicist.”

91 likes3 stack adds
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monalyisha
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“I grew up Catholic, and I love the ritual of it all. But I‘ve come to understand that belief in a personal god is not essential. Not for me.”

Same, Eric. Same.

Singout I have an interesting tension between how much I value engagement in certain kinds of Christian communities and how little conventional doctrine I actually believe. 10mo
66 likes1 stack add1 comment
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britt_brooke
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ These raw and delicate stories explore the lives of Black women and girls, their struggles, hopes, desires, and realities. The church community and societal expectations always in the periphery, but often the forefront. A freaking phenomenal collection! Philyaw has shaped such beautifully imperfect characters, such realistic stories, I‘m totally mind-blown it‘s a debut. Cannot wait to see what she does next! And this cover is FIRE.

Cinfhen Yessssss!!! I ❤️the cover too!!! Glad to hear the stories were hits...I‘m not big on short stories but sometimes they are magic 10mo
britt_brooke @Cinfhen Short stories are tough. I‘m pretty hit or miss. 10mo
109 likes5 stack adds3 comments
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LiteraryinLawrence
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Pickpick

I‘m not the biggest fan of short stories as a genre, but I thought these were great. Each one felt like a little snapshot of a life. There were intriguing ideas about religion, sexuality, family dynamics, morality, and more. The collection overall was also quite short, so I really flew through this.

108 likes3 stack adds